FRIENDSHIP

Helping Children with Friendship Issues

Childhood friendship can be transient, and often unpredictable in nature. Children can find this unsettling and disheartening. Shy, very sensitive, or highly intense children often need help and suggestions in fostering and maintaining links with other children and making friends. One of the realities of making friends is that a great proportion of children's requests to play are greeted with rejection by peers. If a child is willing to maintain social interactions by initiating an alternative in response to peers' rejections, this will sometimes bring success. Less confident children, however, often give up, argue with peers, or insist upon playing a specific game. A lack of willingness to conform can set children further apart, leaving them feeling criticized and often ignored. Children who join a group enthusiastically, who easily adapt to a given game or conversation, and those who pay attention to the mood and timing of new social situations generally experience greater success.


CASE STUDY:

Annika was an outgoing and confident little girl. At 8 years of age, she knew her own mind and was willing to stand by her beliefs. Whilst excelling academically, Annika was also a capable athlete and a strong musician. From the outside, she looked like the perfect ALL ROUNDER. In reality, Annika was sad, frustrated and lonely. Many of her lunch hours were spent wandering alone in the playground. Attempts to play with other children, although initially successful, usually ended in disappointment. Having tried numerous times to make friends and join in, Annika felt she was a failure. Although a very pretty, vivacious and imaginative little girl, Annika felt she would never be able to make the sorts of friendships she so desired.


SUGGESTED STRATEGIES:

  • Watch, wait, and then join in
  • Don't say ... "CAN I PLAY?" ... (You invite refusal)
  • Approach enthusiastically and make a positive comment
  • Join in existing games without trying to change the rules
  • Invite someone to join you in a game rather than waiting for an invitation yourself
  • Learn to play the games other children enjoy
  • Play your part in the game without leaving early
  • Choose a group to play with and then stay with them for the game (don't wander away)
  • Be fair - take turns - follow the rules
  • Choose your friends wisely. Find others who like doing the things you enjoy

 

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